Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Morris Prokop

KICKIN’ UP DUST – Total North third basemen John Kempis attempts to corral a ball during the A Division final of the Whitehorse Co-Ed Slopitch League season-ending tour­ney at the Pepsi Centre Sunday.

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Photo by Morris Prokop

SPLISH-SPLASH – A crowd surged to Pepsi Centre Diamond 1 when the sprinklers kicked in to get some relief from the warm weather after the A Division final on Sunday.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

BALL BALLET – Winterlong’s Breagha Fraser leaps up in an attempt to snag the ball while Total North’s John Kempis reaches second. Ryan Lane, right, backed up the play.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

UP AND OVER – Total North’s Chad Curlew launches himself over Winterlong’s Jade Simoson at first base. Fortu­nately, there were no injuries sustained on the play.

Total North wins A Division in season-ending co-ed softball tourney

Total North captured the A Division crown at the Whitehorse Co-Ed Slopitch League’s season-ending tournament at the Pepsi Centre in Whitehorse Sunday.

By Morris Prokop on September 1, 2023

Total North captured the A Division crown at the Whitehorse Co-Ed Slopitch League’s season-ending tournament at the Pepsi Centre in Whitehorse Sunday.

The tournament featured four divisions and was played at the Pepsi Centre and Takhini ball diamonds from Aug. 25-27.

Total North triumphed over the Winter-long Secret Destroyers 11-7 in a tight, well-played contest in unseasonably hot weather.

Both teams defeated the West Coast Warriors to advance to the final, Winterlong in the top bracket, while Total North fought their way to the final through the Loser’s bracket.

Total North jumped out to a 5-1 lead after the first inning.

Winterlong bounced back with two more runs in the bottom of the second to make it 5-3 after two.

Blond behemoth Ryan Lane staked the Destroyers to a 7-5 lead with a three-run blast to left in the bottom of the third.

However, Total North came back to regain the lead with four runs in the top of the fourth to make it 9-7.

They added another run in the top of the fifth to go up 10-7.

They would cash in another run in the top of the sixth to complete the scoring in the game, despite a slick double play turned by Lane, who stepped on the bag at second, then threw a strike to first for the double play to get Winterlong out of the top half of the inning.

Winterlong couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities the rest of the way, thanks to some solid Total North defence. including shortstop Sarah Walz snagging a line drive from a Destroyer’s bat.

Total North coach Gary Seeley said it was a long road to the A Division championship for his team.

“We lost our first game on Friday night, which dropped us down to the bottom bracket, so we had to fight our way back, four games on Saturday, and three games today to get to the final. Long road, with some young players new to the league that have come up through to A Division, so we’re very proud with what happened.”

Seeley said the key to victory was their defence and speed. He added they were able to score some runs with timely hitting.

“We didn’t have the big-bopper type hitters for this tournament; speed was our advantage. And then for defence, just cutting down some gaps and making some big plays.

“Sarah Walz at short, you don’t see many women ballplayers playing short in an A co-ed final and she kind of controlled our infield and our whole defence and made it very solid for us the whole weekend.

‘We had a senior player, Mark Bowen, who had an excellent tournament at second base, really helped out with Sarah in that middle infield to get some outs when we needed them, some big plays.”

Walz said, “It was an awesome game, awesome weekend all around. You don’t expect this kind of weather at the end of August.

“Our team had to come from the back end. This was our eighth game of the weekend and everybody was just clicking and gelling, and we’d already played two (games) today,” recalled Walz.

“I wasn’t hitting but other players were picking me up and we just chipped away.”

“Our team played great,” Walz said. “We’ve got some young new players and they were making diving catches in the outfield and our second baseman, Mark, had an amazing weekend. Our defence was on. I think that was what made it for us.

“The young kids on our team are very, very fast.”

Walz added she was “looking forward to next year.”

Seeley added, “We’re happy that this year, we brought in some youth to the league. We have three 18-year-olds and one nineteen-year-old on our team who are really first year playing ball, and they’ve developed very fast in playing this ball and we’re hoping to keep feeding in so we can have many more years of success for the co-ed league and Softball Yukon.”

In other results, the Pink Sox defeated Quality Concrete 14-8 for the B Division title.

The Sports Experts and the Silverbacks fought for the C Division championship, with the Silverbacks coming out on top 27-16.

The Molar Bears battled the Inglorious Batters for the D Division crown, with the Molar Bears taking the title 14-6.

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